International Space Station


Every now and again an object,like a tiny star, rises above the horizon and becomes brighter than any star or planet as it crosses the night sky and keeps your eyes wide open and focused on it for few minutes, until it slowly fades away close to the horizon. Sometimes, half way through the journey, it suddenly disappears in the Earth’s shadow, leaving you amazed and confused. What was it, what is it? Next time you see it again, take a look through binoculars, you might see the answer. As it flies right above, it’s at the shortest distance from you, just over 400 kms above the ground. Have you ever tried or imagined looking through binoculars or a telescope from the highest point in your city, for example Bloemfontein, in the direction of another city, some 400 kms away, for example Johannesburg, and seeing the Calabash stadium? Wouldn’t it be nice!
Unfortunately, the Earth is still round and there are many very good reasons, why we can’t see this far between two points on the surface of our home planet. Fortunately, with the aid of even a pair of binoculars or a small telescope, we can see the whole different world out there in the night sky and 400 kms is a very, very short distance.
So, what is it? It is the most expensive object ever built by our civilisation, the most fascinating and the most visited by humans object orbiting our planet since 1998- the International Space Station.
Although I observe and photograph the ISS from the very early days of it’s existance, my first feature-resolved images of the ISS started appearing on my website only in 2009 ( Since then I’ve accuired dozens of ISS images as it passes above Southern Africa, including ISS with the docked Space Shuttle Endeavour duriring it’s final mission STS-134 in May 2011. I’ve been priveledged to meet in person and to have an interesting conversation with a Cosmonaut and Astronaut Valeri Tokarev ( during his visit to South Africa ( My latest ISS images are of the ISS transiting the Sun.
This ISS photography year has started very intensely, on the evening of 1st January, when the ISS was visible moving across the whole sky and I even caught a very bright flare- sunlight reflection from one of it’s modules. Click on the image for a larger view.

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